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Group Hopes to Make North Main Community Market a Reality

Those interested in creating a community market — much like Cleveland's West Side Market — are invited to a meeting at 1 p.m. Saturday at the North Canton Public Library

Instead of making the haul to Cleveland or Columbus to visit an open air market like the West Side Market or North Market, North Canton residents might one day be able to walk to one.

A group of community members are set on creating a market in North Canton that would include a cafe with local foods (usually from no farther away than 100 miles, and a lot coming from the actual market), a handful of artist studios and the actual open air market that would feature fruits, veggies and other foods.

Not only that, but urban farms would be maintained outside the market building, and that food will go back into the market to be sold.

It’s “true sustainability,” says Lilia Fuquen, a student and community market organizer. It’s leading by example.

“Everybody talks all this 'greenwash' stuff about green jobs and a sustainable economy, when we have a hard time implementing these practices,” Fuquen said. “The way I see it is, the community market embodies all of what true sustainable thinking and working actually is. It’s creating local jobs. It’s focused on organic and pesticide-free food.”

Vendors and those interested in sharing their ideas for the market are invited to join a discussion at 1 p.m. Saturday at the . (See the attached flier for more meeting info.)

Fuquen said she came up with the idea to create the North Main Community Market while talking with Jim Sewell, a family friend. Both realized many in the area are yearning for something like a community market. Although the city is rich with history, it lacks in the areas of arts and entertainment — the makings of a vibrant, interesting downtown.

“North Main Street … it’s ripe. It’s ready to be plucked and turned into something. And I think a lot of North Canton residents feel that, they see it and they know that as they drive through,” she said.

The community market is like a puzzle piece in — a community member-guided road map to bettering the city. During the three Master Plan meetings, participants said they wanted to see more of an arts presence in the city, they wanted more to do downtown, and they wanted a natural foods store.

The North Canton Rotary Club already is working toward (also part of the Master Plan).

Fuquen said they haven’t chosen a site yet for the market, but there’s no lack of available real estate in downtown North Canton. She’s eyed the Spitzer building on North Main and said the Maple Street Commerce (owners of the Hoover building) have even shown some interest in housing the market.
Other ideas Fuquen has for the market include a used bookstore, which North Canton doesn’t yet have. Plus, the outside garden would also be used as a resource for community projects and education.

Sewell said the ultimate goal of Saturday’s meeting is to create an organization of vendors and community members to help form the community market. He said it’s most important to establish the actual market aspect first, as he sees the project taking off in phases: market, cafe then artist studios.

Sewell knows the demand for a community market like this is great. People don’t want food that’s been driven or flown thousands of miles.

“The reason why that’s important: Today, with the energy crisis, we’re paying to send food 12,000 miles,” he said. “I bought garlic at grocery store and it was from China. That’s in a big boat using a lot of fuel for food that can easily be grown here.”

And there have been success stories when it comes to small towns and community markets.

Sewell pointed to Wooster, Ohio, where the market Local Roots has thrived and turned a profit in just its second year. Started by a woman who moved to Ohio from South America, Local Roots has even been spotlighted in the Washington Post for its success.

The same could happen in North Canton, Sewell said.

"What we're trying to do is give North Canton and the Stark County area someting it doesn't have. I think there really is a demand for that. People want that."

North Main Community Market, at a glance:

What: Meeting for vendors and those interested in sharing ideas

When: 1 p.m. Saturday

Where:

Can't make it?: Shoot the organizers an email through their website.

Vicki Stanley March 16, 2012 at 10:54 AM
Fabulous idea! North Canton is the perfect location for this venture!
Kristina Bunnell March 16, 2012 at 03:04 PM
This sounds amazing! Love it!
Kim Cathey March 16, 2012 at 03:40 PM
what a wonderful idea! inside the main floor of the Hoover Company would be an EXCELLENT use of space! I can even imagine it in my head. This might encourage other businesses to give their store fronts a face lift too.
Eric March 16, 2012 at 07:42 PM
Sounds like a great idea. It would be cool to see it in the Hoover Company and have the same appeal as the old Quaker Square in Akron.
Morgan Day (Editor) March 16, 2012 at 08:18 PM
Thanks for the feedback, guys!
Kellie McConnaha Johnson March 16, 2012 at 09:19 PM
Spitzer's old site would be great. Every time I drive passed there I want to tear up the lot and plant something. Keep us posted on the results (can't make the meeting tomorrow)
Morgan Day (Editor) March 16, 2012 at 09:23 PM
Will do, Kellie! I've got plans to check back in with Jim Sewell soon. Excited to see the progression of all this.
Pam (Nioura) Moore March 17, 2012 at 02:33 AM
Thrilled to see life come back to the city! It's time.
Barbara Abbott March 17, 2012 at 04:37 AM
Interesting and exciting! Best of luck.
Sue Gregory March 31, 2012 at 02:30 PM
Its just what this community needs. I've been to one in FL where they even have small local music groups sharing their music from Rock to Country to Classical to Folk always different music each week.
Morgan Day (Editor) March 31, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Sue, I love the music idea! Anyone else feel like that's a good fit for the community market they're envisioning?

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